October 25, 1994 -- ``The Shawshank Redemption,'' as noted above, is a standard beginning-to-end movie. The dialogue, based on a Stephen King story, is not as sharp as in ``Pulp Fiction,'' but it does have what ``Pulp Fiction'' lacked. Characters worth caring about and who actually learn something about themselves as the film progresses.
The film deals with two convicted murderers in prison, Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, and ``Red'' Redding, played by Morgan Freeman. As the story unfolds, it turns out that Dufresne was wrongly convicted, but is forced to stay in prison because he, a former banker, has become too important to the warden's illegal money laundering schemes.
As the film unwinds, the two men become fast friends. Both find ways to cope with the horror of prison life in the 1950s and 1960s and both eventually even dare to hope.
Director/writer Frank Darabont brings considerable passion to the prison reform message in the story. The characters are very well developed and Freeman and Robbins both are outstanding in their leading roles. Veteran actor James Whitmore is also excellent in a supporting role as the prison librarian.
The film is also very well photographed by Roger Deakins. The production values, in fact, are all first-rate. This is a fine, moving film. It rates an A.
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